Five Afghan players to miss Challenge Cup semis
MANILA – Five members of the Afghanistan national football team will miss their AFC Challenge Cup semi-final fixture against Palestine after being injured in a traffic accident last Saturday in Maldives.
The Afghanistan team was coming from their goalless draw against Laos when their bus met an accident, which injured five players and three officials.
The Afghanistan head of delegation, Sayed Ali Kazemi, told the AFC website that the five injured players – skipper Haroon Fakhrudin, Faisal Sakhizada, Mustafa Azadzoy, Belal Arezou, and Ahmad Hatifi – will miss tomorrow night’s match.
"Some of the players need three days, and some of the players need one week," Kazemi said.
"If we reach the final, maybe some of the players can play, but we do not know," he added.
Also injured in the accident was coach Mohammad Kargar. Azadzoy was kept overnight in a local hospital and will need at least three weeks to recover, according to the website. Hatifi will need at least two weeks.
Fakhrudin, Sakhizada, and Arezou may dress for Afghanistan if they beat Palestine tomorrow night.
"All the players are in shock, and they are not normal today, but hopefully, they will be okay for Tuesday," Kazemi said.
Afghanistan finished second in Group B of the tournament to advance to the semi-finals.